My top 10 B2B Marketing and Sales apps from 2011 – Part 2

Mark Stonham at workIn part 2 of my top 10 B2B marketing and sales apps from 2011 I bring you my top 3 selection.

This choice is based on the time I spend using them and on the value they provide to me and to client projects. It would be hard to do the B2B marketing and sales work I do without these three apps.

And for a quick recap, my choices from 10 down to 3 were: LinkedIn for Outlook, Share on LinkedIn Bookmarklet, Xobni, Paper.li, Marketing Grader, Google Analytics and Loopfuse.

If you didn’t read the first part of my review, here is the link to Part 1 of my Top 10 marketing and sales apps list.

And now, what you’ve been waiting for, the Top 3 choices:

3. Hootsuite

This Social Media dashboard application is my second communications centre, after email. I run 5 Twitter accounts through the free version of Hootsuite (combined total of 12k followers, 5k updates, 120 Klout). Each account has the full 10 columns assigned to different searches, lists etc.which means I can quickly review what key contacts are saying, and follow my core topics of Sales 2.0, CRM and Social Media.

I spend about an hour a day in 3 x 20 minute stints on Hootsuite. The Hootsuite application is always open in my browser, and also installed on my Blackberry mobile phone. Through Hootsuite and Twitter I have made some extremely useful contacts, some of which have lead directly or indirectly to business. However it is still early days for B2B Social Business.

I also use LinkedIn and Facebook but choose to run them through their own interface, rather than through Hootsuite.

You can access the Hootsuite website here.

NB. There’s more information and comment about Social Business in other Social Media articles here.

2. intouchcrm

For two years I have been keeping an eye out for ‘the perfect CRM and email marketing system’ for myself and for similar, smaller, B2B businesses.

Over the last 20 years I’ve used Goldmine for many of those years, Salesforce briefly, SugarCRM + vTiger for specific projects/roles, home-grown EXCEL spreadsheet based systems for other projects and investigated others such as Infusionsoft, Business Catalyst from Adobe. I’ve concluded that there is no ‘perfect’ CRM system.

I’ve also used and/or evaluated many email marketing systems such as Aweber, GetResponse, MailChimp, SwiftPage, Pardot, Genius and more. While these again have many good features their separation from the contact management side of CRM creates many issues in a B2B scenario.

Based on this experience it is my opinion that intouchcrm provides a better combination than others, for my needs.

Now is not the time or place to list everything that intouchcrm provides, but in summary it picks up from website form registration, goes through email marketing and nurture, supports online surveys, direct mail and SMS, supports direct selling activity via phone and meetings, into sales and billing for products and services and then into delivery and customer support.

As you would expect the development and support team (UK based) are working on new releases.

You can find out more about intouchcrm here. (NB. There is a monthly charge for intouchcrm and this is an affiliate link, so if you go through and then decide to buy I get a small financial reward).

1. WordPress

WordPress takes my #1 slot for many reasons, one of which being that it makes online marketing and publishing fun. I have a ‘what-if’ approach and with new idea the chances are there’s some way to achieve it at a low cost through WordPress and the associated plug-ins.

I have been using WordPress since 2009 and in that time I’ve created and managed half a dozen websites. To provide some context, I am a sales and marketing person, not a professional website designer or developer, however I have sold Content Management Systems for a couple of years. I have found the WordPress platform extremely easy to use, the range of plug-ins is amazing, as are the variety of templates available.

And there are many who agree, from the market stats highlighting the popularity of WordPress:

  • WordPress Stats page  counter shows around 70 million WordPress websites have been created, 2.5bn page views a month, some major companies using WordPress like CNN, TechCrunch, UPS, NBC sports and many more.
  • Google Trends chart comparing some of the leading website platforms shows search volume for WordPress exceeds other CMS systems.
  • CMSwire has WordPress, along with Drupal and Concrete5 variously leading on different measures.
  • W3Techs survey puts the WordPress market share at 15.8% of all websites
  • WP Candy in 2010 did a break-down by website position, with 4.05% of Top 10k websites, 5.91% of top 100k websites and 7.4% of Top 1Mil websites running on WordPress.

I do feel there is a mis-conception that WordPress is just for Blogging, perhaps due to the popularity of the WordPress.com hosted blogging community.  The self-hosted version is also very popular and, as well as the blog capability it is also a very good website content management system (WCMS) for structured, hierarchical pages and more, alongside the blog posts. For a smaller B2B marketing and sales website requirement then going down the WordPress is worth serious consideration.

Information about the self-hosted version of WordPress can be found at WordPress.org WordPress.com is the community version.

I’d be very interested in your views about what applications are important to your B2B marketing and sales activity, so why not post a comment below and let’s start a conversation.

If you need some advice or help to make the right application choices and to get the most out of marketing and sales apps then take a look at the services Wurlwind offers, here – and in the right-hand bar.

And if you Like this page why not share it through the Social Share buttons at the top and bottom.

Mark.

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